Abstract: The vision of next generation 5G wireless communications lies in providing very high data rates (typically of Gbps order), extremely low latency, manifold increase in base station capacity, and significant improvement in users’ perceived quality of service (QoS), compared to current 4G LTE networks. Ever increasing proliferation of smart devices, introduction of new emerging multimedia applications, together with an exponential rise in wireless data (multimedia) demand and usage is already creating a significant burden on existing cellular networks. 5G wireless systems, with improved data rates, capacity, latency, and QoS are expected to be the panacea of most of the current cellular networks’ problems. In this survey, we make an exhaustive review of wireless evolution toward 5G networks. We first discuss the new architectural changes associated with the radio access network (RAN) design, including air interfaces, smart antennas, cloud and heterogeneous RAN. Subsequently, we make an in-depth survey of underlying novel mm-wave physical layer technologies, encompassing new channel model estimation, directional antenna design, beamforming algorithms, and massive MIMO technologies. Next, the details of MAC layer protocols and multiplexing schemes needed to efficiently support this new physical layer are discussed. We also look into the killer applications, considered as the major driving force behind 5G. In order to understand the improved user experience, we provide highlights of new QoS, QoE, and SON features associated with the 5G evolution. For alleviating the increased network energy consumption and operating expenditure, we make a detail review on energy awareness and cost efficiency. As understanding the current status of 5G implementation is important for its eventual commercialization, we also discuss relevant field trials, drive tests, and simulation experiments. Finally, we point out major existing research issues and identify possible future research directions.